Pre Edit Count – 2,785 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Whataya Want From Me by Adam Lambert.
Bella finishes her food, wipes her mouth with her napkin and knocks back the last of the whiskey. She stands to leave, only to find herself blocked by the black leather coated man. She sighs as she comments, “What part of me ignoring you, did you not understand?”
Damon reaches out and lifts her head to his, his eyes focusing intently on hers as he tries to compel her, “You will tell me your name.” He needs to be done with this. He has many other things demanding his attention, than a stranger who has entered town while they are frantically trying to find answers. Their trip to Duke had left them empty handed and him shot for his efforts. They need more answers, and instead he is spending vital time, trying to find out about this beautiful woman in front of him.
Rolling her eyes, she counters back to him, “Someone who doesn’t care or give a shit what you want. Now get out of my way.” With that she shoves him aside and makes her way out of the Grill.
Damon watches her leave with narrowed eyes. He feels his brother next to him, then asking him, “Who was that and how did she resist the compel?” Stefan has seen Damon compel and has never seen someone resist it without vervain in them. The woman who just did, did it with no indication of it even taking hold for a second nor has an after scent of vervain on her.
Damon shakes his head as he comments back, “I have no idea, but I will tell you, I will find out.” He smirks as he mutters, “Game on.”
Bella had made it home, still shaking her head at the odd encounter she had at the Grill. The man had been attractive enough, but his odd actions in getting her name had put her off slightly. Plus she had an odd vibe with him, which she didn’t know what it meant. She wanted to give him more of a chance, and it felt like something inside her was…encouraging her to. But her head won as it normally does and she dismisses the thoughts for another day.
She walked in the door, walked over to the security system and locked down the house. She smiles, because while it may seem as overkill to make the whole house basically a fortress at night, she also did not have to worry about being waken in the morning with the sun. It’s the little things in life that she has learned to appreciate.
She makes her way to the Library, tossing her jacket on a chair as she gathers the last box, full of the odd information Isobel Fleming had sent her.
Bella had done some research on the woman after receiving the box. She had found that she had been thought of as the paramount researcher in the occult and supernatural and had been a professor at Duke. She had many people who had praised her work and called it revolutionary and ground breaking. Bella had looked through the information and had been skeptical. The vampires mentioned by her had nothing to do with her vampires. They were not sparkly in the sun, it in fact killed them and they had fangs. After that she had decided to look through the information at another time. She also remembers there being a book on the Sun and Moon curse that she had debunked before and wanted to see what version this one had.
The only other piece of information that had caught her attention is that she thought she had seen the town in one of the pages she had paged through. With that in mind, she had decided to go through it when she got here. Now was as good as any to do it. She is in between research projects, wanting to familiarize herself with the plethora of information that was in her new library.
With that, she pulled the box to her, and started to pull out the items in it. After a while, she was surprised with all the information that is in the box. There are some really rare books in the box. She had also requested when she had the house done that someone go through the library and catalog the books in it. She had been surprised at the amount of what is generally considered occult and supernatural in the library, along with the many journals that seem to date back to when the town had been formed. However these books had been on the list for her associates to pick up for her if they ever come across it. The same group of people had their own lists. If one of them had it, or it came into their possession, they could either lend it out or gift it.
To be as organized as she normally is, she pulled up the database she kept on her personal computer and started to catalog the books and information she had received in the box. She also has her laptop up and putting information in that database that is more sensitive in nature. This ends up taking a few hours as she notices that unlike her, Isobel made notes in the books. Oh, she had used post-its and such, but there is a lot of times that the woman had just highlighted areas and made notes in the books themselves.
Bella shakes her head at the desecration of the books, but notes all the remarks Isobel made. She frowns when she realizes that while a lot of the information is not spelled out like the reference that had stuck in her head, a lot of the notes in the books had to do with the town she now lived in.
There is record of the Town being older than people first realize. In fact the so called founding families, are not The founding family. Most of them are ancestors of them. Why are they attracted to this town?
And another one noted in the same book,
So many deaths have been accounted to been caused by animal attacks. But a lot of the descriptions that are given before the coroner declares it an animal attack are similar. See notes for Southern Territories.
Reading through the thoughts of the woman made Bella aware that she thought a lot like Bella did. But what caused this woman to research this? And with the knowledge that even Bella has, things are not adding up. Southern Territories?? How in the world did the woman know of those?? She had only found out about them in Jasper’s personal journals!
Bella sighs, putting the book down, rubs her eyes. She glances up and noticing it well past midnight, decides that she needs to put it aside and she will work on it some more in the morning. She tidies up the research and puts her laptop in its new hidey spot.
With a glance around, she nods and makes her way to her room. As she gets ready for bed, she can’t help the grin on her face. The feeling of being on her own and not worrying about the Cullens, the Pack or anything supernatural actually happening to her, made her feel as though a weight has been lifted from her.
The next morning, Bella wakes early, her dreams of a certain black haired blue eyed devil. She yawns, dismissing the dreams, and making her way into the bathroom, she gets ready for the day. It is a habit she got into, since if she didn’t, she would wrap herself up in research and it would take weeks sometimes before she surfaces, and normally only because either she ran out of food, or her father calls her.
So she has gotten in the habit of getting ready each day to give herself a break, to make an actual pause in time since she could go from sleeping on the desk to working and never move from it unless a run to the bathroom. And that break never really made a dent in her thinking to make it feel like a break. As she makes her way downstairs, she takes the house from its lock down and heads into the kitchen to make herself breakfast. She decides that since it looks so pretty outside, she will enjoy the morning in her outdoor room. She takes her bowl of cereal outside and sits there, eating as she watches the birds and trees. Relaxing into the day and the scents of her new home, the sounds of the creek while the wind stirs the leaves on the trees around her. She finishes and her head leans back, just listening to the peace surrounding her, appreciating it in a manner most of her age never learns to do anymore.
At an off noise, Bella opens her brown eyes and tilts her head at a raven that is hopping on the ground, watching her as it makes its way closer to her. It was acting odd for a raven, and she frowns as she tries to remember if Ravens ever have blue eyes when they are not white, but who knows, maybe someone in the gardening crew had made a pet of it.
She makes note of it and will buy it some food, but for now, the call of her research is getting too powerful. She calls out to the Raven, as she gathers her breakfast dish and stands up, “Sorry, buddy, I have some interesting papers to go read through from a stranger that seemed really interested in this town of ours.” Chuckling at herself for talking to a bird, she heads back inside. She cleans out her bowl, places in the dishwasher before grabbing herself a bottle of water as she makes her way back to the library.
Bella moves to the hidey place, gets out her computer, and proceeds to catalog the information as she works through it. Methodical as she goes, cross referencing when something tugs in her head, tryingot make the puzzle pieces fit.
The library is one of the few rooms in the house that has curtains that blocks the sun, as well as the windows themselves being specially treated. Bella, after finding out the age of the books in her library, had taken the time and money to make sure nothing in the Library will be damaged by the sun nor the corrosive air itself for those that needed the special handling. She had in fact installed hermetically sealed bookshelves for the really rare and old books.
After a few hours Bella gets up and paces, her thoughts coming to an ending she is fighting the results to. She frowns back at the books and thinks. The books and research that Isobel had sent to her indicates that there are other things than what she had thought there were even in her expanded world.
She had researched from what the Cullens had told her when she had been a part of the coven, then cross referenced the research she had done in Jasper’s and Carlisle’s libraries back in Forks that there are real werewolves. Carlisle had noted in one of his journals that La Push tribe are Shifters. He had heard of other shifters being out there, that can change into different types of animals, but this had been the first time he had actually seen it with his own eyes.
However, some people called Caius and Marcus had gone on a rampage after Marcus’s sister had been killed by the Children of the Moon. That had been her hint that werewolves are real.
These books, however, talked about the Sun and the Moon curse in more detail, as though it was real. Bella had come across it before, but had thought it pure myth, or something, she had used her skills to find other myths that held a doppelgänger to ‘release’ the curse and used them to debunk this one.
In addition, the sun doesn’t kill vampires, it exposes them.
These books and all of Isobel’s research said the vampires of myth are real. So real that from what these books are telling her that they are from this town back before this continent was ‘found.’ That they had been made because of a witch wanting to keep her family safe from the Children of the Moon that were here. Supposedly they had killed one of her sons.
Then came the research that told her that she is supposedly related to these first vampires. Her family and most of the Founding Families are in fact supposed to be all related back to them. But her line is closer than the most. Theirs is a direct line that had come from an Elijah Mickealson. Supposedly he had been in love with a woman who had been in the village that predated Mystic Falls. It was a secret affair, but she had twins, a boy and a girl.
The girl had married into the Moutin family, the son had taken his mother’s maiden name, Lebădă. Or Swan as it is translated into English. Isobel had traced both lines and had ended it with her. Somewhere, somehow, her mother Renee was also a descendant. Isobel had gotten her DNA back from an inquiry in a national database her Mom had volunteered for. Bella even remembered her talking about it with her on the phone, trying to get her to donate blood. Since she had been bitten before that, she had refused.
Bella paced, trying to get her mind around this. The time between the twins was in centuries, if not millenniums so that did not bother her, but that both lines had rejoined in her, through both her parents is just mind boggling. How could her mother be so distantly related to them, according to Isobel, that she had questioned it and why she couldn’t find any references to Bella’s blood anywhere to substantiate her findings that Bella herself would contain the genetic markers to the Original Family as she names them in the books.
She huffs, and as normal when she finds herself in a spot that she needs some time to regurgitate what she has learned, she put everything in order, the laptop away, and leaves to make a list of grocery items. From there she headed into town, her mind on her trip, letting the rest of it all sit in the back of her mind, a habit she had found that resulted in her understanding more.
Again, she didn’t see the Raven who had watched every movement she made, then flew off as soon as it was sure it knew where she will be.
She pulls in and parks. Grabbing a cart, she makes her way to the fresh foods, taking note of the people around her automatically, but not really paying attention, her mind on her grocery shopping and how much she thinks she will enjoy living here.
While she is checking the ripeness of the cantaloupe, she hears a familiar voice, “Well, well. If it isn’t the new stranger in town. Now, I didn’t think that sniffing the melon really works, you know.”
She turns her head and takes in Damon. She can’t help but smile at him, his eyes showing his mischievousness. “Well, if it isn’t, Mr. I-Can’t-Take-A-Hint. Fancy you doing something mundane as shopping.”
Damon smirks. “Well, you have to go shopping in order to have food. And it happens to be grocery day for the Salvatores. What is your excuse?” He is picking out tomatoes, checking for ripeness. He is determined to get her name if nothing else. Well, that and enjoy some witty conversation… He has so little left to entertain him anymore after he realized that Elena was not the one for him. Though he does believe that there is someone that is better than his brother for her. Elena is not as fun loving as she has been in the past per Barbie.
Looking down and putting the cantaloupe in the basket, Bella shakes her head. She comments, “Well, as you said, new stranger in town. I need groceries if I am not going to eat at the one restaurant in town.” She checks off her list on her phone, then reaches for another bag, and starts picking out tomatoes. She had decided that since she had plenty of time, some homemade sauce would be great to make and can. Making a little or a lot doesn’t make a lot of difference in time now. But if she gets lost in research, she will appreciate having healthier meals around.
His mind busy as he tries to analyze the woman in front of him, and why he is so damn attracted to her, Damon watches her, then plucks a tomato out of her hand and replaces it, then starts handing her more until her bag is full. “There are other restaurants in town, the Grill is just the most popular.”
Shaking her head at his audacity, Bella closes the bag and puts it in her cart. She checks off that item, and heads for the next item on her list. Luckily she inherited a robust herb garden with her other gardens. So she won’t have to worry about buying any fresh herbs except for Parsley. It wasn’t worth growing for as much as she uses.
She prefers to use fresh herbs whenever possible, and plans to start a small herb garden for the winter time. Which is why she is preferring to make as many things as she can while it is still in season for the fresh produce. One of her favorite treats is canned pears and apples.
Damon is watching her and cocks his head to the side, “Are you planning on having a party? If so, I am insulted you have not invited one of the few people, if not the only person, you have met.”
Laughing, Bella looks up at him. “You sure are conceited aren’t you?” She is ignoring the slight pull she feels towards him, never realizing that because of it, she is talking to him more than she normally would. She had just got out of College. Turning guys down like Damon is second nature. She has no want to be a notch in someone’s bed post.
Acting innocent, Damon tells her, “Me? Nah. You are only conceited if you are the only one to believe in your awesomeness. I am awesome in every way, so there is nothing conceited about it.” He grabs his basket moving beside and smiles charmingly down at her, his eyes twinkling with mischief.
Shaking her head at him, she moves her cart out of his way and continues on to the butcher. She finds out soon enough though, that Damon is following her when she hears, “So, what is up with the large amounts of food?”
She gives her order to the butcher for the cuts of meat she is needing, secretly enjoying the fact she can have them do special requests like grind the chicken breasts for her. Bella then turns her attention back to her new personal stalker. “Wow. Been in town for three days, and I already have a stalker. I think you have set a new record.”
Damon smirks at her, “And you have had a stalker in the past for me to be able to set a new record?”
Bella’s face freezes for a second, Edward’s face and him being in her bedroom at night flashing through her mind.
Watching her face, he sees the raw look of misery and…anger on her face, and he hastily replies, “Sorry, I was just excited to know I am memorable to you in some way.” He didn’t like that look, and wants it gone. It doesn’t belong on her beautiful face. He will kill whomever put it there, whatever memory caused it.
Damon doesn’t even question the feelings of…possesivness or protectiveness he is feeling. Making one of his famous snap decisions, she is now under his protection…and his.
Hearing the butcher behind her calling her name, Bella snaps out of it, and turns to grab the meat she had requested, she hastily tells Damon, “It’s nothing.” No more will Edward Cullen bring her down. She had decided that before and yet…here she is with him in her memory from a casual comment.
Sighing, Damon steps in front of her, his eyes bearing into hers. He knows he can’t compel her, but it is as if she is compelling him. He smiles, and asks, “Can we start over? I would really like to know you. There is not many people around here who can outsnark me. It’s…refreshing.”
Staring into his ice blue eyes, Bella hesitates. “I…sorry. It’s not you, it’s me and that hullabub. I have had some bad experiences with men, so I tend to push them away. Or at least that is what the therapist that my dad sent me to said. I call self-defense.”
Damon laughs. “I will try not to be one of your bad experiences. It’s just…you’re new. And like I said, you interest me.” He is watching her, making note of the little nuances now that he has decided what he wishes of her. She is different, so he can’t act like he normally does. He needs to use the brain he has.
Looking off in the distance, Bella sighs, making a decision. “Bella.” In for a penny, in for a pound…
His eyes snapping to hers, he breathes, “That you are.”
She laughs. “No, silly. That’s my name. Isabella, better known as Bella. Don’t make me regret this, Damon.” Bella is trying not to retort. His answer she has heard before, many, many times, but never in that tone that he said it in.
Taking a step closer, he grins down at her, “This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.”
She eyes him suspiciously, then asks, “You don’t love shopping do you?” Twice this man in front of her has made her think of the Cullens, and she is trying to figure out why.
His head lifts in shock, eyebrow lifts then asks with a look of shock in his face, “Doesn’t everyone?”
He laughs, as he moves beside her as she continues to shop. “I thought that every woman does. Even my brother’s girlfriend loves it.”
Rolling her eyes, Bella comments as she grabs more stuff and marks it off her list, “It’s a necessary evil. Someone I knew loved it a little too much.” Her eyes get that far away look as she comments softly, “She kinda made it where I hated it.” No matter what, she cannot forget being dragged from store to store, never allowed to make a decision of her own. Stuffed into clothing she hated, colors because Edward liked them. It was the last time she allowed anyone to come with her when she had to shop. And she only does it when needed.
Damon stops and searches her face. The pain in it reminded him of his own. He remarks softly, “Well, maybe you just need a better partner.” He bows slightly to her as he proposes, “I will gladly offer my humble opinion to you milady.”
Unable to help the peal of laughter, Bella looks at him. “There is not a humble bone in your body, Damon.”
He smirks. “How you wound me, my Bella.”
She shakes her head, not catching his claim and heads off to finish her shopping.
Pleased at her not rebuking him for his claim, Damon watches after her, then calls out, “Bella?”
She turns her head to look over her shoulder at him, her eyebrow arched.
He smiles at her, “Thank you.” At her questioning look, he clarifies, “For giving me a chance. You won’t regret it.”
Bella looks at him, telling him, “I hope not, for both our sakes. See you later, Damon. Since you seem to pop up wherever I am.”
He just grins at her as she walks away. “Bella.” He softly says to himself. Yes, he will make sure to meet up with her again.
Final count, 4,086 words.